NW Jesuits Settle Indian Boarding School Abuse Suit

From the Seattle P-I:

Northwest Jesuits settle Indian boarding school abuse claims

By JOHN K. WILEY
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

SPOKANE, Wash. — An order of Roman Catholic priests on Thursday announced a $5 million settlement with 16 people who said they were sexually abused while attending a boarding school on the Colville Indian reservation.

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NCAA Press Release on Fighting Sioux Settlement

From the NCAA website (H/T Indianz):

NCAA Statement on Settlement of University of North Dakota Mascot Lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, November 19, 2007

Contact

Bob Williams

Managing Director of Public and Media Relations

317/917-6117

 

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA recognizes the University of North Dakota’s many programs and outreach services to the Native American community and surrounding areas.  The University of North Dakota is a national leader in offering educational programs to Native Americans.

The University has indicated that it intends to use the current name and logo with the utmost respect and dignity, and only for so long as it may do so with the support of the Native American community.  The NCAA does not dispute UND’s sincerity in this regard.

The NCAA believes, as a general proposition, that the use of Native American names and imagery can create a hostile or abusive environment in collegiate athletics.  However, the NCAA did not make any other findings about the environment on UND’s campus.  The NCAA also acknowledges that reasonable people can disagree about the propriety of Native American imagery in athletics.  The NCAA believes that the time has come to retire Native American imagery in college sports.

Alaska Natives tentatively settle Catholic sex abuse lawsuit

Ken Roosa, an Anchorage lawyer representing 110 Alaska Natives reporting sexual abuse at the hands of Jesuit priests, has reported a tentative settlement of $50 million with an Oregon-based Jesuit province.

The LA Times coverage of the lawsuit also noted the following:

“A dozen priests and three missionaries were accused of sexually abusing Eskimo children in 15 villages and Nome from 1961 to 1987. The flood of allegations led to accusations that the Eskimo communities were a dumping ground for abusive priests and lay workers affiliated with the Jesuit order, which supplied bishops, priests and lay missionaries to the Fairbanks diocese.

Jesuit officials have denied transferring molesting priests to Alaska, saying that it was a prestigious assignment for the most courageous and faithful. In Jesuit fundraising literature, Eskimo villages were called “the world’s most difficult mission field.”

Many plaintiffs said their once devoutly Catholic villages — cut off from the world and without law enforcement — offered a perfect setting for a molesting priest. In 2005, The Times published a story about Joseph Lundowski, a Jesuit deacon who allegedly sexually abused nearly every boy in two small villages on St. Michael Island between 1968 and 1975.

Lundowski’s accusers — now in their 40s and 50s — said the abuse led to alcoholism, violence, emotional problems and suicide attempts. They kept their secret — not even talking about it among themselves — until the Catholic Church sex scandal erupted in 2002.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/us/19priest.html?ref=us

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004022435_jesuit19m.html

Rat on Inland

From the Leelanau Enterprise:

Tribal-state consent decree signed

Attorney Bill Rastetter figured he and other representatives of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians had better attend the biennial meeting of the Conservation Resource Alliance in Traverse City for a couple reasons.

First, tribal members wanted to show support for natural resources, and the CRA seeks to protect watershed in northwest Michigan.

And secondly, they wanted to hear what just-appointed Michigan United Conservation Club executive director Dennis C. Muchmore had to say about the recently released consent decree acknowledging inland rights to hunt and fish within property defined by an 1837 treaty.

Muchmore, keynote speaker at the Oct. 18 luncheon, talked of opportunities afforded by the consent decree for MUCC and other sporting groups, the state, and the tribes to work together to promote their common causes.
“It was the polar opposite of 1981,” said Rastetter.

The consent decree, the result of two years of closed negotiation between the state and five Michigan Indian Tribes, was signed this week by U.S. District Judge Richard Alan Enslen.

The decree has no ending date. For all practical purposes, it represents the law of the land in how members of the five tribes hunt and fish in Michigan.

Rastetter is a veteran of the latest round of cases involving tribal issues, having enlisted as a pro-bono attorney working for Michigan Indian Legal Services shortly after federal Judge Noel Fox issued his landmark decision in 1979 granting treaty rights for Native Americans to gill net in the Great Lakes. Eventually, he was hired by the Grand Traverse Band to represent it in complicated legal cases with the state that had long-term implications.

Rastetter recalled attending a meeting in 1981 at which former MUCC director Tom Washington, who is now deceased, and former DNR director Howard Tanner denounced the emboldened tribal commercial fishers.

“What they had to say about the Indians, it would be an understatement to say it was a tirade,” said Rastetter. In defense of Washington and Tanner, considered stalwarts of the conservation movement, they were being reflective of a society of sportsmen fearful that the resources they cherished would be plundered.

Fox’s ruling came largely without limits, and eventually lake trout populations were over-harvested. Rastetter said Indian tribes were in their infancy. Most of the harvest in Grand Traverse Bay, he said, was by Native Americans who resided in the Upper Peninsula and were not members of the GTB.

Still, the die was cast. Indian fishermen were considered bad by members of the traditional conservation movement.

Flash forward to today, with the heard of MUCC reaching out to tribes as fellow conservationists, and the state and tribes willing to negotiate away portions of their legal positions in order to reach an agreement.

Somewhere along the way, the state and tribes came to terms that they should not be enemies. In fact, they are nearing an unfamiliar relationship — that of partners.

“Our biologists are working hand-in-hand with (Traverse City DNR fish biologist) Todd Kalish on a number of projects. Clearly there is a common mission,” said Rastetter.

Also familiar with the history of the struggles of GTB members is Henry (Hank) Bailey, a fish and wildlife technician with the GTB Natural Resources Department. He has the perspective of viewing the decree from two sides — that of an Indian who may have given up some of his treaty rights, and that of a protector of resources.

“We’ve always been great managers of resources,” he said, adding that GTB members believe in planning ahead seven generations in their use of natural resources. “That’s how far you need to be looking and planning for. You have to be careful with what you’re doing with the resource.”

Bailey has heard complaints from other GTB members that tribal negotiators gave up too much to get the settlement. “There are so many ways of looking at it. But it has been negotiated, so there has been give and take … the state folks have people who they have to answer to, and they’ll take a beating.”

State conservation officer Mike Borkovich has heard from those folks, who believe the state should have taken its case to trial. He, too, offers a bit of history.

“The treaty was made even before Michigan was a state. In a way, the state wasn’t in the negotiations for the treaty,” he said.

Hunters are concerned that GTB members are allowed to firearms hunt on public lands earlier than the traditional opener on Nov. 15. Fishers are concerned that limited netting — but not gill netting — will be allowed on larger inland lakes.

“I want people to be patient,” Borkovich suggests. “The tribal members are not anti-hunting or anti-gun zealots. If we all work together with proper management techniques, we will be able to sustain our resources.”

Rastetter said the decree is the first he knows of that recognizes tribal rights without having to first go to federal court, where states have traditionally lost their cases. The document is full of give-and-take, of which some pertains directly to Leelanau County. For instance, tribal rights were extended to lands enrolled in the state Commercial Forestry Act — but only lands of 1,000 acres or more. That provision excludes all property enrolled in Leelanau.

And “state parks” were specifically excluded from public lands falling under tribal rules — meaning that the hundreds of acres in Leelanau State Park were excluded from the early tribal firearms deer hunt.

“There are comprises like these that I’m sure tribal members are not happy about,” he said. “But this sets the stage for cooperation on a wide level on inland issues.”

Court Approves Inland Settlement

From the AP: “A federal judge signed an agreement between the state of Michigan and five Indian groups on Monday giving the tribes the power to issue their own hunting and fishing licenses and write their own regulations.”U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen’s decree was the final step resolving a four-year-old lawsuit rooted in decades of debate over the meaning of tribal rights in modern times. It acknowledges the tribes’ rights under an 1836 treaty.”

Inland Settlement Signed at Odawa Casino in Petoskey

From the Petoskey News Review:

“Four weeks after the various governments reached an understanding of how historic treaty rights apply to tribal members’ inland fishing and hunting activities, many of their officials and staff — about 100 people in all — gathered at the Odawa Hotel in Petoskey to commemorate the new agreement.

“Pipe and flag ceremonies and a gift exchange among governmental leaders were part of the celebration.

“It is a pretty exciting day,” said Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians tribal chairman Frank Ettawageshik.

“While driving to Thursday’s event, Ettawageshik noted that he’d passed through some heavy fog before arriving in clearer conditions — and likened this experience to the years-long discussion and negotiation that led up to the agreement.

“Here we are back in the sunshine at the end of the clouds,” the chairman said.


Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians tribal chairman Frank Ettawageshik signs a document commemorating a new consent decree which clarifies the hunting and fishing rights retained by five of Michigan’s Indian tribes in the Treaty of 1836. The LTBB hosted a celebration to commemorate the new agreement Thursday at its Odawa Hotel. (Ryan Bentley/News-Review)

Second DNR Explanatory Meeting

From the Ludington Daily News: “Chris Dobyns of the Michigan Attorney General’s office explained that several legal precedents were in the tribes’ favor heading into the negotiation on inland rights. The Canons of Construction, which are long-standing legal guidelines, explain that any ambiguous language in a treaty like “until the land is needed for settlement,” should be construed liberally in favor of tribes. Court rulings against the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin have reinforced this.”

More from the Ludington Daily News: “What will most residents notice once the new tribal consent decree kicks in? Nothing different, according to Little River Band Natural Resources Commission Chair Jimmie Mitchell, who spoke to the Daily News shortly after the agreement was announced.”

First DNR Inland Settlement Meeting

From the Soo Evening News:

Fisheries Chief Kelly Smith of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources indicated the fishing portion of the consent decree involved long and detailed discussion. The state was looking to protect fish stocks while at the same time minimizing the impact on licensed anglers and maintaining the current regulations. The tribes were looking to maximize harvest at peak times of efficiency utilizing spears and nets even during the spawning runs.

The tribes agreed to a permit system with notification requirements and timely harvest reporting. For its part, the state agreed to allow subsistence fishing activities even during spawning periods with certain restrictions designed to protect fish populations.

Walleyes, salmon and steelhead may all be taken by subsistence fishermen utilizing the tribal permit system with a variety of restrictions. They will be limited to somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the walleye population in any given inland lake depending on acreage. Certain river systems leading into Big and Little Bay de Noc will also be open during the spawning run.

Smith observed the combination of sport anglers and subsistence fishermen should not exceed the 35 percent threshold required to maintain walleye populations on any given lake.

Steelhead and salmon will also be available to subsistence fishermen under the agreement with certain limitations again designed to protect brood stock in key areas.

Tribal members utilizing their own hunting permits will be allowed to harvest up to five deer a year with the season beginning the day after Labor Day and running into January. These permits will limit harvest to two antlered deer with only one allowed to be taken with a firearm before Nov. 1. The agreement also calls for a quiet period from Nov. 1-14, prohibiting the use of firearms for trial deer hunters.

Tribal regulations allow for the harvest of two turkey during the spring hunt and two more during the fall hunt. Migratory bird hunting will be governed by existing federal regulations with most other small game species unaddressed by the consent decree.

Bear hunters operating under tribal regulations will have the same start and end dates as Michigan hunters without any breaks. Tribal members will be entitled to up to 10 percent of the harvest within each bear management unit and that number can increase to 12.5 percent in the future if needed.

Tribal hunters are also guaranteed 10 percent of the state’s elk permits, but that can increase to 20 percent if the state issues less than 101 permits and more than 50.

Permits for both bear and elk will be transferable.

There were a number of questions from the audience following the DNR’s presentation including one member who asked if the tribe should be required to utilize the same equipment and techniques available at the time the treaty was signed.

“The courts have uniformly held that tribal members can use the same benefits of technology as non-tribal members,” answered Dobbins, meaning tribal members do not have any gear restrictions above and beyond the average sportsman.

More Inland Coverage: The Settlement from the POV of U.P. Whitetails Assn

From the Escanaba Daily Press: “The conservation work performed by organizations such as the Bay De Noc Sports Fishermen and the MDNR was recognized as an integral component of the successful management of our inland fisheries. Is [the settlement] perfect? Not totally. However it is a far cry better than what was in place before because now everyone is thinking towards the future.”

The longer article appears to be an interesting CYA from the treaty rights opponents.

One nit to the author — the settlement doesn’t “change[]” the treaty, just interpret it.

More Coverage of Soo Tribe Vote on Inland

From the AP: “The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians said Thursday that its members have approved an agreement between five American Indian tribes and the state of Michigan over inland hunting and fishing rights.”